Posts Tagged ‘Nevada Mining Association’

Mining Industry Big Nevada Job Creator

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 10:15 am November 8th, 2012

CARSON CITY – A report released today shows that Nevada’s mining industry has accounted for 14 percent of jobs added statewide in the past year and 33 percent of jobs added statewide since the recession ended in June 2009.

Courtesy of Barrick Gold Corp.

The Nevada Mining Association announced the findings, which come from a recent study completed by Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis.

“While accounting for just 1 percent of Nevada employment and 5 percent of Nevada GDP, the mining industry was responsible for 33 percent of the jobs added in Nevada since the end of the recession,” said Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst for Applied Analysis.

“Furthermore, these were not jobs recovered that had been lost; rather, they represented real growth,” he said. “Industry representatives have indicated that there is unfulfilled demand for even more employees to join the industry.”

The report comes out ahead of the 2013 legislative session, where any discussion of raising tax revenues will likely include the mining industry. The industry was the subject of extensive hearings in 2011. Mining was also the focus this year of an initiative petition that would have allowed higher taxes to be imposed on the industry, but the proposal was withdrawn.

The Nevada Mining Association, in announcing the study, said in a news release that mining has helped foster low unemployment rates in many rural counties, including 4.9 percent in Esmeralda County, 5.4 percent in Lander County, 5.5 percent in Elko County, 5.9 percent in Humboldt County and 5.9 percent in Eureka County.

Nevada’s statewide jobless rate was 11.8 percent in September, the highest in the nation.

The association said the industry has added 1,200 jobs over the past 12 months, which represents an 11 percent increase in mining’s total workforce, and the number of Nevadans now directly employed in mining is more than 12,000, the association said.

The association in February 2012 estimated the industry would add 1,200 jobs this year, both in precious metal and industrial mineral production, after conducting an informal survey of members.

“These numbers support what the industry has known for some time,” said Tim Crowley, president of the Nevada Mining Association. “We have been adding jobs throughout the industry, and the Nevada Mining Association is seeing a record number of outside suppliers joining our membership ranks. The industry’s direct and indirect reach will only continue to grow and help Nevada recover in the coming years with several new projects set to begin operations.”

Nevada’s gold mines produced 5.3 million ounces of gold in 2010. Nevada is ranked as the fourth largest producer in the world.

Nevada Mining Association Files Court Challenge To Mining Tax Initiative Petition

By Sean Whaley | 12:04 pm February 23rd, 2012

CARSON CITY – The Nevada Mining Association has filed a court challenge to the initiative petition filed by Nevadans United for Fair Mining Taxes that could lead to a tax increase on the industry from 5 percent to 9 percent.

The complaint filed Wednesday in Carson City District Court alleges the petition “provides a legally insufficient and misleading description of effect and creates hidden yet critical conflicts with a number of state and federal constitutional provisions, including contravening the basic requirement that property taxation in Nevada be uniform, equal and based on just valuations.”

The petition to amend the Nevada constitution should be declared invalid, the complaint says.

The petition was filed Jan. 31.

At the time, Vegas businessman Monte Miller, who heads up the group, said his proposal was not a tax increase.

“It simply raises the cap on mining taxes and leaves the issue on whether to raise the tax in the hands of the Nevada Legislature and governor,” he said in a statement.

But the mining association complaint said the petition is misleading to voters.

“Proponents’ assault on fair taxation, without proper information being given to the voters and petition-signers, cannot be sustained and the petition cannot be presented to the people in its current form,” the complaint said. “Furthermore, proponents’ description of effect fails to provide any information regarding the ‘effect’ of the petition necessary to the decision-making process of Nevada voters. The petition fails, therefore, to meet the basic requirements for a constitutional initiative under Nevada Law.”

Maggie McLetchie, attorney for Nevadans United for Fair Mining Taxes, said the group has not been served yet with the complaint and so she could not comment in any detail.

But she did say the petition is very simple, changing only one number in the mining tax cap from 5 percent to 9 percent.

“I’m not surprised the mining association filed something,” McLetchie said. “But the petition is not misleading. It changes one number. It is straightforward about what it does and does not do.”

The Legislative Counsel Bureau, which provided a financial impact assessment of the proposal, said the effect of the measure, if passed, is unknown because it would only change the constitution to allow for an increase in the tax rate. The Legislature and governor would have to approve any actual change in the tax rate, the statement said.

Miller said he formed Nevadans United for Fair Mining Taxes to give voters more options on tax policy in a year when the Nevada AFL-CIO has promised to put Nevada’s first business income tax on the ballot.

The Nevada News Bureau reported in November that several Nevada groups were considering a ballot measure to increase taxes for public education.

“If the Texas-style business margins income tax is going to be on the ballot, voters are going to need an alternative,” said Miller. “We are providing voters with a reasonable approach to tax reform.”

Nevada Mining Industry Expects To Add At Least 1,200 Jobs This Year

By Sean Whaley | 11:16 am February 9th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s mining industry is stepping up to Gov. Brian Sandoval’s challenge asking businesses and all economic partners to help create 50,000 jobs over the next three years.

The Nevada Mining Association recently conducted an informal survey of its members and has estimated the industry will add 1,200 jobs this year, both in precious metal and industrial mineral production across the state. The survey could be underestimating the number of mining jobs being created this year since not all mining operations are members of the association.

This compares to 500 jobs created in the natural resources and mining sector reported in the 12 months through December 2011 by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation on Jan. 23. There were 12,900 jobs in this sector as of December.

Mining has remained a bright spot in the jobs arena during Nevada’s long running economic downturn.

Courtesy of Barrick Gold Corp.

Nevada’s unemployment rate has begun to come down, but remained the highest in the nation in December at 12.6 percent.

“The precious metals mine operations are growing, expanding, starting up new operations,” said Tim Crowley, president of the Nevada Mining Association. “In addition to that there are a lot of industrial mineral mines that are coming on line. They may not be in production in 2012 but they’re working through the permitting process and getting closer to putting people to work.”

The survey does not count all the ancillary jobs related to mine operations either, Crowley said.

“With every new job at a mine site, we get 4.25 new jobs in the supply chain,” he said. “So there’s significantly more growth than what we’re accounting for in that survey.”

Examples are Cashman Equipment, a Henderson-based equipment company that will add 50 jobs this year just to serve its mining customers and Komatsu equipment, expected to add 15 jobs for the same reason.

One industrial mine expected to open this year if the permitting process is finalized as expected is General Moly’s Mt. Hope molybdenum project near Eureka, which is expected to ultimately employ 400 people. Molybdenum, or “moly” is a metal added to stainless steel to make it stronger, lighter, more rigid and noncorrosive.

“That’s a fantastic new project,” Crowley said. “Its applications are huge.”

Another project that is expected to see construction but not actual mining is Nevada Copper’s Pumpkin Hollow project in Lyon County, the Nevada county with the highest unemployment rate. The rate was 17.2 percent in December. The construction will add much-needed jobs, he said.

Crowley said the high price of gold has created a huge demand and has spurred the growth and expansion in precious metal mining in Nevada.

“We’ve had some great finds in the last couple of years,” he said. “Newmont has a couple of really big developments in the works. Barrick has some big developments. You name a mine site and they are in development.”

The association survey found that Barrick Gold Corp.’s recent expansions will bring on an estimated 300 jobs at its Cortez site. Newmont is expected to add 250 jobs company-wide.

Courtesy of Barrick Gold Corp.

The price of gold has also led to the reopening of some mining operations, Crowley said.

“There’s an old mine that has been reopened and is booming, a couple of them, in a big way,” he said. “The Hycroft mine out of Winnemucca, which is run by a company called Hycroft, (Allied Nevada Gold Corp.) and the Hollister mine which is run by a company called Great Basin Gold, they are both back up and running and employing people and growing.”

The Hycroft mine is expected to add 113 jobs this year. The mine is seeing major production increases in both gold and silver.

The high gold prices have allowed companies to invest in more efficient equipment to mine lower grade ores, Crowley said.

“We’re able to invest in looking for more ore bodies so we have the resources to do it right now,” he said. “Our future is really bright and we’re here for the long haul.”

Jered McDonald, an economist with the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said he expects to see the mining sector begin to grow at a faster rate.

“It really has to do with the length of time that it takes for these operations to get up and running,” he said. “It can take up to seven years for all the permitting processes to go through. I think going forward, yes, we’re going to start to see more and more mining jobs.”

Gold prices are expected to remain high as long as the economy continues to struggle, which is anticipated for at least the next couple of years, McDonald said.

“So we expect gold prices to stay high and employment in mining to increase,” he said.

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Audio clips:

Tim Crowley, president of the Nevada Mining Association, says the state is seeing growth in precious metals and industrial mineral mining activity:

020912Crowley1 :28 people to work.”

Crowley says for every mine site job there are 4.25 jobs in the supply chain:

020912Crowley2 :15 in that survey.”

Crowley says old mines have reopened because of the high price of gold:

020912Crowley3 :26 people and growing.”

Jered McDonald, an economist with the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, says he expects to see a higher rate of mining job growth:

020912McDonald1 :36 more mining jobs.”

BLM Rejects Sandoval Proposal To Speed Up Mining Permit Process, But State Says Progress Being Made

By Sean Whaley | 5:15 pm November 28th, 2011

CARSON CITY – The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has rejected a proposal from Gov. Brian Sandoval to speed up the notice requirements needed for the approval of new and expanded mining operations, but the agency said in a letter that progress has been made in expediting the process.

Sandoval in September sent a letter to President Obama asking that the Washington, DC-level review of Federal Register notices for mining projects be bypassed. Allowing state offices to send the notices directly would save time and help create jobs in Nevada, he said.

Courtesy of the Newmont Mining Corp.

BLM Director Bob Abbey, in a letter to Sandoval received Nov. 18, rejected the proposal, but said the agency is working to improve the process.

“Early this year, I committed to representatives of Nevada’s mining industry to speed up the process with Notices of Intent and Notices of Availability,” he said. “I am happy to report to you that since our meeting this summer, the efficiency of recent notice reviews by the BLM Washington Office has exceeded expectations.”

Abbey cited a notice that arrived in the BLM Washington Office on Sept. 15 that was cleared for publication on Sept. 26.

Dale Erquiaga, senior adviser to Sandoval, said today that despite the rejection of Sandoval’s proposal, there is evidence the permitting process has been improving.

“The letter makes it pretty clear that the administration in Washington won’t be changing their procedures from a regulatory standpoint,” he said. “The good news is we have though seen a significant change in how the regulations are applied in terms of process. We’ve had a number of reports to the office lately that the permitting process has speeded up and they are moving much more quickly.”

Erquiaga cited a Newmont Mining Corp. project that recently benefited from the expedited process.

“They may not be changing their written procedures, but they are actually changing the process and we appreciate that very much,” he said. “This is not an issue to split hairs over the legality of federal rules. The goal is to get these permits through the process so that we can get Nevadans working and we’re seeing some great results with that. The end result is what matters.”

Erquiaga said the governor’s staff has been meeting regularly with state BLM officials, meetings that have produced positive results.

Mary Korpi, director of external relations for Newmont’s North American region, said the project benefiting from the speedy Federal Register noticing requirement is the Phoenix Copper Leach expansion south of Battle Mountain.

That process has in the past taken up to a year, but took only 42 days in this instance, she said. Ultimately 50 new long-term jobs are expected from the expansion.

“It was a significant improvement in the time factor,” Korpi said. “It is now published and out for comment. We are very, very pleased.”

Tim Crowley, president of the Nevada Mining Association, said he believes Sandoval’s letter has had an effect on speeding up the permitting process, and noted that Abbey also appreciates the need to move as quickly as possible.

“The mining industry does have a lot of new projects on line and ready to go,” he said. “Where possible, without compromising the environmental integrity of the permitting process, we ought to be working as quickly as possible to get these projects going and get people working. And so yes, I do think his letter has had a great impact.”

There are pieces of the regulatory process that do not add value, Crowley said.

Sandoval noted in his Sept. 16 letter that mine permitting is presently a multi-layer process that requires sequential approval by many different offices before a notice can be sent, which he said lengthens the timeline by many months and in some cases years. Prior to 2001, BLM state offices had the authority to send notices directly to the Federal Register without prior review by Washington, DC, he said.

“This is my first request of President Obama since becoming governor,” Sandoval said in a press release. “I need his help to get Nevadans working again, and we have identified a very specific step he can take to spur job creation in our mining industry.”

In his letter, Abbey rejected Sandoval’s proposal.

BLM Director Bob Abbey.

“We have learned from experience that departmental policy review is very important,” he said. “The BLM Regulatory Affairs Division ensures the delivery of notices to the Federal Register in a manner that meets strict style, formatting and legal requirements.”

Abbey also noted that the timely processing of Federal Register notices, “is central to the BLM’s ability to carry out its mission,” and that the agency issues a directive in December 2009 for consistent handling of notices that had historically experienced delays to improve the processing time required for publication.

He also noted that the agency recently instituted comprehensive training for those involved in developing Federal Register notices to ensure they are standardized and of high quality to expedite the process.

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Audio clips:

Dale Erquiaga, senior adviser to Gov. Brian Sandoval, said today that despite the rejection of Sandoval’s proposal, there is evidence the permitting process has been improving:

112811Erquiaga1 :26 much more quickly.”

Erquiaga says the goal is to get Nevadans working:

112811Erquiaga2 :12 results with that.”

Nevada Mining Association President Tim Crowley says he believes Sandoval’s letter has helped:

112811Crowley :23 a great impact.”